Things to do in Kent

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Surrounded by coastline and beautiful landscapes Kent offers attractions from contemporary art galleries to historic houses. It’s a perfect UK destination for families, couples and those simply coming for the day.

Heritage & Gardens

Kent is a country steeped in heritage and history and is home to many castles, stately homes and medieval ruins. Canterbury is a World Heritage site and includes the magnificent Canterbury Cathedral. Kent is also home to England’s second oldest Cathedral – Rochester.

Whilst visiting Canterbury learn about the lives and achievements of Churchill, Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin. You can roam the homes of lords and ladies, butlers and parlour maids or discover medieval coastal towns, Tudor villages, and old style Victorian houses. Kent boasts world-famous sites like Hever Castle and Penshurst Place, and also smaller gardens such as the Secret Gardens of Sandwich, Goodnestone Park Gardens and Brogdale.

The childhood home to Anne Boleyn, Hever Castle is one of the most spectacular places to visit in Kent. The 13th century castle is surrounded by beautiful award winning gardens, which stretch across 125 acres of land. Whether you are interested in visiting the castle or not, the gardens are an attraction in their own right. There is a Water Maze on Sixteen Acre Island, as well as the Yew Maze that both children and adults can enjoy. Inside the castle, the rooms are beautifully decorated with ornate Tudor furniture, tapestries, antiques and paintings. The Book of Hours Room features two prayer books, which belonged to Anne Boleyn and bear her inscriptions and signature.

Outdoor Activities in Kent 

Kent has more than 4,000 miles of public footpaths that stretch across woodland, parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The White Cliffs of Dover are probably the most synonymous with Kent, which are part of the North Downs formation. The cliff face is 350ft above sea level and have become an official icon of Britain. For those looking to explore the cliffs, there are various walking trails, which offer scenic routes.

More information can be found here. Alternatively, visit The Outdoor Guide for more information on walks.

Further inland, visitors can discover Blean Woods, a picturesque and peaceful nature reserve. The Woods, which are near to Canterbury, expand across 11 square miles of ancient woodland. There are five trails to explore, the longest of which takes you on an eight-mile wander through majestic oak trees.

Home to numerous parks, woodlands and stately gardens, the Kent Wildlife Trust manages 61 nature reserves. There are 12 Country Parks across the county, which encompass meadows, grasslands, ancient woods and riverbanks. For fans of golf, Kent is a great place to visit for your next golfing break. There are plenty of courses on offer ranging from Championship to links courses.

Animal Parks 

Kent has some great wildlife attractions on offer that are perfect for those on a family holiday. The Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks are home to lions and giraffes, rhinos and gorillas.

While at the Rare Breeds Centre, 100 acres of unspoilt countryside is home to various farm animals, ranging from cows, pigs, lambs and owls.

Kent Art and Culture

Home to an abundance of art galleries, world-class theatres, museums and festivals, Kent is a vibrant hub of arts and entertainment. The Margate Turner Contemporary exhibition showcases contemporary and historical collections from renowned artists. The art gallery has exhibited the work of countless international artists, including Turner Prize nominees and winners Antony Gormley, Tracey Emin, Yinka Shonibare, and Paula Rego.

For tourists visiting in October or November, we recommend getting tickets to the Canterbury Festival. The festival draws around 60,000 people to attractions ranging from music, theatre and dance, to exhibitions, comedy and much more.

For more information on Kent, we recommend visiting Visit Kent.

(Photo: ©VisitEngland/Alex Hare)